Just how does our administration decide to close campus?
Morgan L. Pavey and Vanessa S. Calhoun
Campus Eye Staff
With another potential blizzard in the forecast this week, some students may be wondering how the college decides when to close campus due to bad weather.
Last month, the college had a snow day on Monday, Jan. 27, when subzero temperatures led schools across the state to close. The next day, many schools stayed closed, including the University of Minnesota, but Anoka-Ramsey was open. What was the difference?
“The critical factor is the safety of traveling,” said Deidra Peaslee, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. She said, “It’s a collaborative decision with many individuals involved, including the president, the VP from [Anoka Technical College], our Director of Safety and Security, as well as our Director or Marketing and PR.” This is especially important because there are a number of students who travel long distances and come from all over Minneapolis/ St. Paul and from as far as Wisconsin, she said. Another major factor in making this decision is the temperature; in other words how cold is “too” cold.
The first thing the school does is contact the highway and police departments to get the latest forecast, Peaslee said. Furthermore, it’s not only how cold it is, but what the windchill factor is, as well as the progression of the storm. A snowfall of 4-6 inches, or extreme temperatures lasting more than 24 hours could trigger a snow day if it causes road conditions that are too dangerous for travel.
“We try to make a decision by 5 a.m.” the day of classes, Peaslee said. The school contacts and reviews road reports, weather, police and the highway department, she said. They try to contact news channels as soon as possible to get the school added to the list, also contacting up to 17 different TV and radio channels, to make sure they are well prepared, for things can change rather quickly.
The best way to get updates on campus closures is to sign up for the campus StarAlert service, which sends out a text message as soon as administration makes a decision. Other options include checking the college home page and checking student e-mail, Peaslee said. Some faculty members also update class D2L pages with class and college cancellations.